There are generally two types of travel planners: those who plan months in advance, and others who pick up things and spontaneously go on adventures. No matter which type of planner (or non-planner) you are, you never want to feel anxious about forgetting or missing something when you’re leaving the house. Knowing how to whip up the best packing list ever for your next trip will always help you feel prepared.

Before creating the perfect packing list, you will want to plan out a general itinerary.  For ideas on how to complete an itinerary, see my post here to get started.

Want to know how to get started on a packing list for your next adventure? Here are some questions you can consider to help you prepare:

  1. Where is your destination? 
    • Make sure to do your research on the climate and conditions of your destination at the time of your travel. For example, you can type in something like “Weather in Iceland in September”, and plenty of sources will provide useful insight.
    • What kind of activities are you planning for your trip? For example, if you’ll be doing a lot of walking/hiking, you should bring plenty of socks and the right footwear. If you’re going on a tropical beach vacation, you should bring extra swimsuits. You get the point.
  2. How are you getting there? 
    • If you are flying to your destination, chances are you want to pack more lightly than if you are driving.
    • Only packing a carry-on for a shorter trip? Check out the basics rules here on how to pack properly to prevent any headaches.
  3. How long is your trip? 
    • Depending on the length of your trip, how much stuff you pack will drastically change. Let’s be real – anyone traveling somewhere cold for over a week find it difficult to stuff everything into a carry-on suitcase, no matter how much you try to stomp and sit on top of the suitcase…unless you want to re-wear everything. Make sure to refer to your itinerary and activities to plan out any extra clothing.
  4. Are you bringing any perishable items? 
    • If you’re bringing any food, beverages, or perishable items, you will need to make sure everything is sealed well and will not go bad while you’re traveling. Make sure to carefully plan out how things will fit in your bags if you are bringing any food on your trip.

Let’s break down further into how you can simply your list into easy categories.

Important Documents: This category includes passports, visas, reservation printouts, and any other paperwork that you will need during your trip.

Electronics: You can include on your list any device, chargers and extra batteries in this category.

Clothing: This list should include all outerwear, underwear, layers, shoes and accessories you are planning to bring on your trip.  It’s helpful to specify the number of the specific item of clothing you want to bring (e.g. “Pants, 3 pairs”). If there are any items of clothing that you may be able to discard at the end of your trip, it’ll make more space in your luggage for any souvenirs you want to bring back home.

Toiletries: This is pretty straightforward but it’s always good to write down everything you need for your daily routine. Make sure to have enough for all days that you are on your trip, and keep in mind that disposable containers can make more space in your luggage at the end of the trip.

Optional categories: Medication, Food

Miscellaneous: You can include anything here that doesn’t quite fit in any of the other categories mentioned above.

Even if creating a packing list can feel like a tedious task, it’s essential in improving your packing and traveling skills. The more details you can include on your list, the better.  Following these simple steps will help you become a packing expert in no time!




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